Weightlifting & Exercise/trick knee

Advertisement


Question
Greg
Two years ago I sprained my right knee running. It took almost two years to heal. My doctor said there was no damage, just a slight meniscus tear. I am sure my age, 55, and excess weight were also mitigating factors.
Since then I have lost a bit of weight, but still dont feel confident enough to run outside or even on a treadmill. Every so often this knee gives out momentarily. I can rover, but it has been scary the couple times I have been going downstairs with a load of laundry.
Am I stuck with this forever, considering my age? I do squats and leg gursl to strengthen it-they havent helped a bit. Neither has calcium or glucosamine.
I just bought an elliptical which gives me a good workout with no issues. I can live with having to use that, but I miss running-even on the treadmill. Thanks for your thoughts.

Answer
Hi Bud,

Sorry to hear about your dilemma, I would be more than happy to share my thoughts on this with you. I am not sure why your doctor said there was no damage, just a slight meniscus tear- that to me is damage. Perhaps he was thinking in terms of requiring surgery. I cannot say if you will be stuck with this pervasive injury for life, but you may very well. You see the problem with the meniscus (as well as all tendons and ligaments) is that they have very little blood supply to oxygenate the area and facilitate recovery, compared to muscles. Losing weight is absolutely paramount for your situation as the less force coming down on the joint, the less pain and damage. Age is indeed another factor for any orthopedic (in fact any injury) as you are well aware I am sure, we don't heal like we did as youngsters. I think the elliptical you purchased was a great idea as it is often recommended for those with knee and foot problems. Doing squats and leg curls is great even if you still feel discomfort in the knee, as these muscles support the knee and the pain you have would be much more pronounced if the hamstrings and quads were weak. Do be sure to warm up the legs thoroughly before exercising especially with this condition. If you have access to a pool at the YMCA or perhaps your health club, you can do so many exercises that will spare you the knee discomfort you are contending with. Bud, do be sure to keep an eye on this as it may require surgery at some point. Perhaps you can see a physical therapist who can do some testing and treatments to facilitate rehabilitation prior to needing such a giant step. Also, is the doctor who said you have a tear a specialist? I hope it was not just primary care physician. If it was make sure you see an "Orthopedist" if you have not already, they can properly assist you as the knee is one of the most complicated joints in the body that can be a lifetime of difficulty if not handled properly.
I would conclude by saying that if you can live with not running, then don't run. It is great cardiovascular exercise but absolutely awful on the knees and feet. So many people are in the same predicament you are. Brisk walking or mixing slight jogging with brisk walking is a good alternative if you must run. Also try to do any you do running up hills as you will have less impact because you have less distance to go for you foot to meet the ground, and you won't be able to run as long do to exhaustion. Make sure you run on grass or on the side of the road if possible (perhaps a trail)as asphalt is awful to run on, no shock absorption.
Best of luck Bud, I hope you find relief soon.

Greg  

Weightlifting & Exercise

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Greg Hoppe

Expertise

I can answer questions on proper exercise technique, starting as well as growing in attaining your fitness goals and questions regrading how the human body works from an exercise physiology standpoint. I can assist with any questions regarding anatomy & physiology, stretching and rehabilitation. I am also extremely well versed and experienced in martial arts, self-defense and massage therapy.

Experience

I have a B.S in Physical Education and a Black Belt in an eclectic martial art. I am also a certified Fitness Therapist through ISSA and a massage therapist. I can assist with questions regarding hiring a health and wellness professional as well as growing and succeeding in the field for those already working in it.

Organizations
ISSA, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

Education/Credentials
B.S. in Physical education, Black Belt, ISSA certfified Fitness Therapist.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.